Paso Robles may be known for its wine, but craft beer is clearly on the rise.
On Wednesday, the California Mid-State Fair and the Central Coast Brewer’s Guild held the inaugural Craft Beer Tasting Night and Awards — naming Brendan Gough, head brewer of Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo, as Brewmaster of the Year.
“I’m so honored to receive this inaugural award – the fact that it comes from my peers, who I know and look up to, makes it that much more humbling,” Gough said in a news release. “And this is not a reflection of my work alone, but of the amazingly talented team at Central Coast Brewing.”
Wednesday’s event took place at Mission Square at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured beers from nine local craft breweries, including BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Earth and Fire Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Silva Brewing of Paso Robles.
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San Luis Obispo breweries 7 Sisters Brewing and SLO Brew also participated, as did Buellton-based Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., which has a taproom in Arroyo Grande, and Libertine Brewing Co., which has locations in Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Kevin Ashford of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. were in the running for the brewmaster title, the news release said.
But Chuck Silva, San Luis Obispo chapter head of the Central Coast Brewers Guild and owner and brewmaster of Silva Brewing, said Gough was the right choice.
“Brendan has distinguished himself as a world class brewer and has a cohesive spirit amongst the brewing community,” Silva said.
Gough, a San Luis Obispo native and Cal Poly alumnus, started out brewing beer in his garage. After a stint as assistant brewer at Central Coast Brewing, he went to work for Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
In 2014, Gough returned to Central Coast Brewing as head brewer. Since then, the company has won a gold medal in the World World Beer Cup, as well as three gold medals and one silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival.
Central Coast Brewing celebrated its 20th anniversary in March by opening its second San Luis Obispo location.
Michael Bradley, CEO of the California Mid-State Fair, said the fair will continue to celebrate the Central Coast region’s craft beer for years to come.
“We are so excited to introduce this new event to the California Mid-State Fair,” Bradley said. “This is a great way to discover and explore the thriving craft beer movement that is being led by our neighbors.”